Burma Times Correspondent: October 17, 2015
Buddhist nationalists held an anti Rohingya demonstration in Akyab on Monday.
Dozens of people turned up in the demonstration that held placards declaring the Rohingyas are a ‘phantom’ race and the Muslim community has no historical presence in their lands.
The demonstrators shouted that their country had more than two millenniums of history and never was there any presence of Rohingyas in the land.
The government and Buddhist nationalists have long claimed there is no race called the Rohingya, the term being coined by Bengali settlers brought into the country in the British era. The sentiment is shared by many in the country where anti Muslim feelings are very strong.
Rohingyas in Akyab however said the demonstration was a farce as Arakan was a historically independent from Burmese rule. They also pointed out the increasing separatist tendencies of the Rakhine people as was manifested in their support for the insurgent outfit Arakan Army.
The demonstration did not last long and did not attract a huge crowd but many feared it was an attempt by the powerful Buddhist nationalist lobby to stir up hatred against the Rohingya minority at a time when the overall situation in the country is tense before the crucial November election.